HMV Group has reported difficult fourth quarter with like-for-likes slumping 13.2% but said its full year pre-tax profits will meet City expectations.

For the 16 weeks to April 24, HMV UK and Ireland reported total sales down 8.2%, and like-for-likes down 13.2%. The retailer said it reflects very strong comparatives in this period in the previous to years.

In the period, it reported improving trends at Waterstone’s, with total sales down 4.3%, and like-for-like sales down 4.8%.

For the 52 weeks ending April 24, group total sales are up 1.8% with like-for-likes down 4.3%.

Chief executive Simon Fox said: “HMV UK, as expected, had a difficult fourth quarter, and we planned accordingly by tightly managing margins and discretionary costs. However, the severe weather in early January and reduction in campaign activity in favour of preserving margin further impacted the like for like out-turn. Therefore, I am pleased to be able to confirm that the group’s profit before tax will be in line with expectations, comfortably ahead of last year.

“We are focused on progressing our new strategy laid out on 26 March 2010 to rapidly evolve HMV’s product mix, grow the new HMV Live division and continue to turn around the performance at Waterstone’s. We remain confident that these initiatives will position the group to achieve our medium target for a sustainable 4.5% net margin.”

The group will launch entertainment-inspired fashion ranges in May, and said it is on track with the roll out of Waterstone’s range repositioning.